This Week in NFL Betting By the Numbers
by Darin Zank - 1/4/2012
Finally, after 17 weeks of regular-season play, a new league single-season record 11,356 points scored, numerous bad calls, endless replay reviews and bad beats up the ying-yang, the NFL playoffs are here. The NFL Playoff brackets feature twelve teams, four rounds, and a championship tournament; what a novel idea. Are those money-grubbing college presidents paying attention?
Here follows a few more numbers NFL handicappers might want to consider as the playoffs begin.
0 – Number of Super Bowls the New England Patriots have won since “Tapegate”. In fact, Belichick's boys haven't even won a playoff game in almost four years. But the Pats enter these playoffs as the top seed in the AFC, and they won't have to play the Jets at all or the Ravens until the AFC Championship Game. TopBet is listing New England at +120 to win the AFC Championship and +400 to win Super Bowl 46 the first Sunday in February in Indianapolis.
4,796 – Passing yards allowed by the Green Bay defense this season – a new league record. Yikes. Yes, a lot of that yardage came as the Packers played bend-but-don't-break when defending leads; Green Bay didn't trail a whole lot this season. But their pass defense also looked completely lost at times, especially in their lone loss at Kansas City a few weeks ago and last Sunday vs. Detroit. So who knows what might happen in a conference championship matchup vs., say, Drew Brees and the Saints. TopBet is listing the Packers at -130 to win the NFC and +175 odds to win the Super Bowl.
8-0 – Baltimore's record at home this season. And, by gosh, the Ravens, as the two seed in the AFC, get at least one home playoff game this year after playing the role of road warriors the last three postseasons. However, if Baltimore has to play at New England in the AFC Championship Game bettors will want to note the Ravens went just 4-4 on the road this season, losing ugly to four non-playoff teams. Baltimore is getting +225 to win the AFC at TopBet and +800 to win the Super Bowl.
132 – Yards per game the Saints averaged rushing this year. New Orleans may be known for its nearly unstoppable passing game, but the sneaky truth is the Saints run the ball pretty good, too. So they can keep defenses honest, and work the clock when protecting leads. New Orleans, a very dangerous team right now, is getting +150 at TopBet to win the NFC and +300 to win the Super Bowl.
+28 – The San Francisco 49ers' league-leading turnover ratio this season. Coach Harbaugh has worked a minor miracle with this outfit, leading a team that won six games last year to 13 victories this season, instilling some attitude and getting the very most out of what he inherited. But we have doubts about the Niners, namely whether they'll be able to keep up with the Saints on the scoreboard in a potential divisional-round matchup. TopBet is listing San Francisco at +700 to win the NFC and +1,200 to win the Super Bowl.
Too Bleepin' Many – The number of injuries the Pittsburgh Steelers have had to deal with this year. The latest injury cost them RB Rashard Mendenhall for the rest of the season. Big Ben is still hobbled by a bad ankle, LB LaMarr Woodley has missed recent action with bad hamstring and S Ryan Clark won't play this weekend in Denver because of a medical condition. So the defending AFC champs enter the playoffs as a five seed and will likely be on the road for as long as they're alive. TopBet is offering Pittsburgh at +350 to win the AFC and +1,400 to win the Super Bowl.
+18 – Per-game rushing yardage differential for the Atlanta Falcons this season.
-32 – Per-game rushing yardage differential for the New York Giants this season.
67 – Percent of games won by the team that outrushed its opponent this season. For their NFC wild-card game this Sunday TopBet is listing the Giants as three-point home favorites over the Falcons. New York is also lined at +1,100 to win the NFC and +1,800 to win the Super Bowl, while Atlanta is getting +1,800 to win the NFC and +3,000 to win the Super Bowl.
0-7 – Record of the Cincinnati Bengals in games played vs. teams that made the playoffs this year. Cincy is listed at +3,200 at TopBet to win the AFC and +10,000 to win the Super Bowl.
3 – Games the Houston Texans have lost in a row heading into these playoffs. Not a good sign. Houston has performed admirably in fighting off key injuries to make the playoffs for the first time ever, but there's no denying the Texans are leaking oil. TopBet is listing Houston at +2,200 to win the AFC and +5,000 to win the Super Bowl.
480 – Yards the Detroit Lions allowed Green Bay backup QB Matt Flynn to throw for last Sunday. And that doesn't bode well for a team that's going to New Orleans to try and slow down the streaking Saints this Saturday. Detroit is getting +3,500 at TopBet to win the NFC and +6,000 to win the Super Bowl.
11-for-41 – The Denver Broncos' success rate on third downs during their season-ending three-game losing streak. Now they open the playoffs by going against Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense. Good luck. Denver is listed at +5,000 to win the AFC at TopBet and +10,000 to win the Super Bowl.
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